Child. It’s National Adoption Month. Because a lot of what I write has a bit of an edge to it, people might think I’m cynical about adoption or disappointed or disillusioned. And they’d be right. But I also feel grateful, lucky and amazed. Same person, different days? Maybe.
The truth of the matter is that adoption isn’t for everyone but it’s for more people than you might think. In fact, it might be for you. This is a picture of me and my dog, Jak, a puppy my husband bought for me to celebrate my graduation but also, I really think, to take my mind off my growing grief about my infertility and how inaccessible and impossible adoption seemed for us at the time. We’d gotten shooed away from Lutheran Social Services because our mixed marriage (Christian-Jewish) made us ineligible to adopt from most countries. We were mortified and discouraged at the local adoption process — scared to death by the list of possible ‘conditions’ we were told we might encounter. (Remember this is a long time ago — things have changed for the better.)
We ended up adopting three kids from Nicaragua — in the most serendipitous way imaginable. But that’s another blog post.
So maybe you want to be a parent but haven’t figured it out. Here’s why you ought to look at adoption ….. of a child (well, maybe a dog, too).
1. Adoption is exciting. If life is a box of chocolates, adoption is a crate. You don’t know what you will get. There’s no predicting.
2. Adoption makes you happy right away. If you have been wrestling with infertility, you can put all that heartache away. If you’re stuck on how sad you are because you’re single and childless, presto chango. You decide to adopt. You will be immediately happy.
3. Adoption makes people think you are selfless. If you are like me, you are unlikely to ever be called selfless in any other situation. So that’s kind of cool.
4. Adoption gets you out of yourself. You have to think bigger, think smarter, be more aware, assume less, and listen more.
5. Adoption gives you purpose. Why? Because you are offering to become the parent to a child without a parent. Is there something more important than this?
6. Adoption reminds you that falling in love isn’t a once in a lifetime experience. It can happen over and over until you have all your bedrooms and more filled up.
7. Adoption cracks open your ethnocentrism. If you are white and your children are brown or black, you will feel the rage and indignity of racism for the first time in your life. You will understand 1000% more about the world than you did before.
8. Adoption gives you children who love you because you loved them when no one else did. It takes a while for them to realize this but they eventually do. They also learn that love without action is just words.
9. Adoption lets you blame genetics for stuff you don’t like. Birth parents don’t have this little trap door. And that’s kind of cool.
10. Adoption creates the family you’re yearning for. Creating a family through adoption is a stiff term for being open to chance and luck, believing in yourself and being ok, truly ok in your heart, with what life brings you.
Adoption could be for you. Think about it. Don’t be freaked out or scared or think you’re not good enough to be a parent to a kid without parents. You’re plenty good enough. Really. I know what I’m talking about.